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On a day when the entire country is celebrating 'Raksha Bandhan', there are some villages in the state where the festival is considered taboo for various reasons. In Satha Chaurasi, a cluster of about 60 villages in Hapur district, people have not celebrated Raksha Bandhan in the traditional manner for almost four and a half centuries. Women in this village do not tie 'rakhi' on their brothers' wrist but tie it on wooden sticks instead.
Majority of the residents here claim to be the 17th generation of Maharana Pratap, the Hindu Rajput king known for his valour. "In 1576 during the battle of Haldighati, all men were on the battlefield and could not be present for 'Raksha Bandhan'.
The women decided to tie 'rakhis' to wooden sticks as a symbol and that tradition has continued till date," said Raghuvir Singh, a local resident. The local people call this 'Chhadi Puja' and a local fair is also organised on the occasion. In another village Surana in Meerut, women do not celebrate 'Raksha Bandhan' because of a 'curse'.
"In the late 12th century, on the day of the festival, Muhammad Ghori had attacked the village and killed every resident, except a woman and her two sons who were not present there. Later, when the residents tried to celebrate the festival, a village boy got crippled. The incident was seen as a curse, and ever since, the festival has not been celebrated here," said Umesh Tyagi, a local teacher.
Sukesh Yadav, another resident of the village, said, "A woman of Chabbaiya gotra was saved as on that day she was not present in the village. Later, her sons Lakhan and Choonda returned and resettled the village. They were accompanied by 100 Ranas. Even today the population of the village comprises 50 per cent Chabbaiya Yadavas. The name of the village was also rechristened as Sohrana (100 Ranas) that was later twisted to become Surana village."
In Bainipur Chak village of Sambhal district in Uttar Pradesh, 'Raksha Bandhan' is not celebrated for a different reason.
The people here believe that if their sisters demand property as a gift, they will have to part with it.
The village has not celebrated Raksha Bandhan for almost 300 years now because of this fear.
The local people explain the reason behind this belief. There was a local zamindar who did not have any daughters. His sons started getting 'rakhi' tied from girls of other castes and one year, one of the girls demanded his 'zamindari'.
The family left the village after handing over the zamindari of the village to the girl who belonged to another caste and honouring the sanctity of the festival. Since then, the people of Bakia gotra do not celebrate Rakhi.
Meanwhile, some villages in Gunnaur in Sambhal also do not celebrate the festival.
"About two decades ago, a sister had tied a rakhi to her brother and the brother died a few hours later. The tradition was stopped for a few years but when it was restarted, there was an accident on Raksha Bandhan and several men died. After this, the local people felt that the festival was cursed and did not celebrate it," said Rampher Pandey, a local resident.
Similar incidents have been reported from Bhikhampur Jagat Purwa village in Gonda district and people have stopped celebrating Raksha Bandhan.
"Whenever we have celebrated this festival, something untoward has happened so we have stopped celebrating Raksha Bandhan," said a local teacher Surya Kumar Mishra.
Villagers believe that if a child is born on Raksha Bandhan day, the 'curse' will be lifted.
Keywords: rakhi, rakshabandhan, UP, villages, festival, superstition
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